“When we first landed in Germany, the only way I can describe how I felt is that my legs were shaking,” related Elina Charvat, who together with her husband Tyler became missionaries to Germany in 2012. They had never been lead pastors and had never planted a church, yet God had placed a calling on their lives—not only to plant a church, but to plant a church-planting church. As they moved to Leipzig, Germany, in 2016 to plant a church, reality began to set in, and the Charvats began wondering how God was going to do it.
In their first few months in Leipzig, Tyler and Elina had a hard time making friends. They had moved there without a single connection, and it was difficult to even find people to talk to. But God provided what they needed right when they needed it. Tyler enrolled in a free, local German-language class, where he met an American woman who was married to a German. Tyler invited the couple, Andrea and Ole, to their house, and within the next week, they had started Generations Church in their living room with not just four, but five people—Andrea and Ole had invited a friend.
Ole, a professional video editor, volunteered to make a promotional video for Generations Church. That video turned out to be just the catalyst they needed, and God continued to send people to the Charvats who were eager to join a new church plant. Just as the first couple invited a friend, personal invitations continue to drive church growth. One girl who started attending invited her Hindu friend to the church, who invited his Buddhist friend, who invited his Christian friend. The Buddhist friend gave his heart to Christ and was recently baptized.
Soon they outgrew their living room and began to rent a space to accommodate the growth. “Two years ago we thought we’d have to pay people to be our friends,” recalled Elina. “We were so scared of failing, and we often felt like we were making no progress at all. But God had perfect timing and brought us the people we needed, right when we needed them.”
The dream of being a church that plants churches is still alive in the Charvats. Even as Elina recalled her initial anxiety upon arriving in Germany, she boldly stated, “Fear shouldn’t determine if you should or shouldn’t plant a church. God has not given us a spirit of fear, so we can move forward confidently, trusting in Him, even when our feelings are trying to make us give up.”